A while ago, I wrote about Planzone, a collaborative project management app, and how it allowed me to organize and manage all the pieces and players of two major projects I have going on. I have the free plan, which includes two projects. But I also needed something that would help me manage my most chaotic project (the one called “My Life”) and keep track of everything else: a to-do list for an upcoming trip, personal and professional side projects, those brilliant ideas…I know you know what I’m talking about! All the things that float around in your brain, coming and going whenever they please, popping back into your head at 2 a.m. or, when you’re in the shower, which is really not helpful.
Just when I needed her most, along came Doris, a free, web-based task management app developed by Seagull Systems originally for their internal use. (Disclosure: Seagull Systems has done development work for one of my projects.) Doris, their personal assistant, turned out to be so helpful that they dressed her up, in the form of a nice UI, and decided to let her help the rest of us get organized, too.
I’ve tried several task management apps and never found one that was quite right. Producteev is a very nice option, but it has more features than I need. Remember the Milk never did anything for me, though many swear by it. I’ve even tried digital Post-its for my desktop. (Don’t go there. They’re cumbersome, harder to deal with than paper Post-its, and very slow to load.)
I was most struck by the simplicity of Doris. I have little time or patience for steep learning curves, and there is literally none with this app.
Once you create an account (just two fields), the first thing you’ll want to do is create groups (one click) for your to-dos. I created one of for WWD article ideas, and one for side projects, among others.
There is no need to set due dates or priorities. Nothing else is required beyond creating groups and adding tasks. You place groups in any order on the page by dragging them. Within a group, you can drag tasks up or down in the list, and you can drag tasks from one group to another.
How does this help you get things done? You simply check your Doris page every day and drag urgent items from their group into the “Today” group. Then you check them off when they’re done and they go into your “History.” There’s a “Tomorrow” group by default, but you could also create groups for next week, next month; whatever you need.
I really wanted simplicity, and that’s what Doris offers.
Doris is still in beta. I provided my feedback right away and said that I would like to be able to collapse groups individually. They responded by saying you can already do that, just by clicking on the group name, and that they’ll be sure to make that more clear. Seagull Systems are constantly improving the app, so do share your feedback: it could have a real impact.
She’s currently available in English and Russian but, pretty soon, approved translators will be able to log in and translate the whole app in 20 minutes or so via a GUI. In the near future, you’ll be able to share tasks with contacts and set Doris up to send you e-mail status reports if you want them. And you’ll soon be able to synch Doris with your iPhone. Look for her in the app store any day now!
Have you tried Doris?Are there other task management apps that work for you?